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Morro Bay wastewater plant construction to require weeks-long closure of South Bay Boulevard

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Posted at 3:47 PM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 23:00:53-05

There’s an upcoming road closure you’ll want to know about due to Morro Bay’s largest infrastructure project currently underway.

Since construction started on the Water Reclamation Facility in March of 2020, there have been a number of road closures.

Beginning around December 27, depending on the weather, South Bay Boulevard from Highway 1 to Quintana Road will be closed for roughly eight weeks.

South Bay Boulevard allows drivers to access Highway 1 to San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay from the Los Osos and Baywood Park areas and vice versa. But a couple of days after Christmas, a stretch of the road will be closed for about two months.

“We've had some of our regular guests ask about it and ask how they would be getting to and from town because of it,” said Sonya Mitchell, Bay Pines Travel Trailer Park Assistant Manager.

The Bay Pines Travel Trailer Park staff says with the looming detour, they’re concerned about the number of cars that will be passing their park on Quintana Road next to the closure.

“I was just more concerned about how much traffic that'll be coming out this road. We do have a lot of people that like to go walking and I was more concerned that people would be speeding through and not knowing,” Mitchell explained.

Others have taken to the city’s Facebook page, expressing concerns over the upcoming closure.

“We're telling people to expect five to ten more minutes of transit time to move from Los Osos to Morro Bay and vice versa,” said Scott Collins, Morro Bay City Manager.

During the closure, a pipeline will be constructed along South Bay Boulevard to the treatment plant.

The city says the Water Reclamation Facility is needed to meet state and federal requirements of being located inland and away from coastal hazards.

It’ll be able to treat one million gallons per day and can help with future droughts by being capable of providing up to 80% of the community’s drinking water needs.

“We're currently almost completely dependent upon the state for our drinking water and when we hear things like the state say they're going to send zero percent allocations to water agencies like Morro Bay, that's a scary proposition. We do have two years of storage in the San Luis Reservoir, but that's only two years,” Collins said.

KSBY News reported about a year ago that the facility had a price tag of $130 million but it’s now around $144 million.

“We incurred some increases due to some regulatory issues, some supply chain issues a lot of other projects are experiencing at this time,” Collins explained.

The project was approved by voters back in 2018 and ratepayers started paying for the project in August of 2019 with water and sewer rates of around $191 per month for a single-family home.

As far as the construction goes, those nearby say they’ll just have to adjust.

“We just have to do what's got to be done to keep things flowing. We can't stop construction,” said Dede Pestrello, Bay Pines Travel Trailer Park Manager.

The treatment plant and pipeline are on schedule to be completed sometime next summer.

The injection well system is expected to be finished in 2023 or 2024.

For more information about the project click here.

For directions around the closure:

  • If you’re coming from North Morro Bay and need to go to Los Osos, exit Highway 1 at Morro Bay Boulevard and take Quintana Road to South Bay Boulevard.
  • If you’re coming from Los Osos and need to go to San Luis Obispo, take South Bay Boulevard to Quintana, turn right and continue until you reach the intersection with Highway 1.
  • If you’re coming from Los Osos and need to get into Morro Bay, make a left from South Bay onto Quintana.